Until our lives are touched by a disease, disability, or medical condition, we don’t generally know much about that condition. It’s human nature that until we are personally faced with the challenges, the fears, or the struggles, most of us know nothing about (whatever) medical issue. Because the human body and experience is complex and unique, and as the average person (you and me) we can’t follow and understand every one of the many complexities that disease and/or a disability can bring to our lives.
The thing is, you may not know someone with Down syndrome, for example, but you might know someone with diabetes. You may not know someone with Down syndrome, but you probably know someone with Alzheimer’s Disease. Or Cancer. Or Heart Disease.
And since you don’t know someone with Down syndrome, or even if you do, you may not know that while people with Ds may be more susceptible to some of these conditions, they are less susceptible to others and this means that, in both cases, scientists are interested in knowing…Why?
The exciting bit is that the answer to this Why? May actually be the answer that will change the life of the person you love with diabetes, or Alzheimer’s disease, or cancer or…
“People with Down syndrome are a gift to bioscience” and yet, the article posted to The Hill continues, “Despite the untapped scientific potential, and despite being the leading cause of developmental delay in the world, Down syndrome has been one the least funded genetic conditions by our National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 2001.”
Sometimes, when it comes to research regarding Down syndrome, people get confused at what our community is trying to achieve. There is no “cure” for Down syndrome because Down syndrome is part of a person’s genetic and cellular structure; it is not something developed, it is a chromosomal condition that is one component of who a person is.
However, there are also a variety of corresponding medical conditions that a person with Down syndrome is more likely to have or develop as he or she ages. However, Down syndrome cannot be the Singular cause of any of the medical conditions associated with Ds. It is important to note that many of the other conditions are treatable, but many also require more research to attain better, more satisfying treatments.
Back to you and the people you love.
Because people with Down syndrome are more likely to have (Fill in the blank with medical-condition-of-someone-you-love) by studying Down syndrome and (medical-condition-previously-thought-of) the medical science community are working to find treatments, and cure possibilities, for the entire population. So, yes, research into some of the most common diseases and conditions that affect the general American public will also help people with Ds.
BUT HERE’S THE BIG DEAL: People with Down syndrome have unique genetic information that may help the typical population to battle big, serious, medical issues like Alzheimer’s, certain cancers, and heart disease. (And more, but at least one of those big three affect someone you love, I am certain.)
Why am I telling you this? Because we need more research! And, as previously noted, the NIH is not making this research a priority. For people I love with Down syndrome. For people I love with Alzheimer’s disease. For people I love with cancer. For people you love with diabetes. For people you love with heart disease, or, well — you’re getting it, right? All you have to do today is sign this petition to the NIH and say, “Yes, More Research, Please!”